Abstract

At least 14 deeply incised V-shaped canyons transect the Campeche Escarpment between long. 88°00′W and 92°35′W. The canyons all appear to be erosional features that may have been initiated during Cretaceous time; considerable erosion occurred probably during Pleistocene time. It is suggested that the canyons act as a balancing mechanism in sediment dispersal. At times when sediment supply is large, such as times of Pleistocene lowering of sea level, the canyons act as a conduit for the transfer of sediment from the shelf region directly to the deep ocean. Thus the lateral rate of growth of a carbonate platform is not necessarily a linear function of sediment supply. The canyons do not appear to be transporting sediment actively at the present time.

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